Roasted Pears on Blue Cheese Toasts with Walnuts and Greens

This recipe combines cheese and salad courses, the pear juices mingling with the melted blue cheese in the toast, like bruschetta.

Makes 4 servings

     4 large pieces French or sourdough bread (about

        3” x 5”), about ½ inch thick, crusts trimmed

     2 ounces pound blue cheese such as Great Hill

        Blue, crumbled

     2 tablespoons cream

     ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

     2 ripe firm pears such as Bartlett

     ¼ cup walnut oil (or olive oil) 

     Mixed greens such as arugula, watercress, Belgian endive and frisée

⅓    1⁄3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted

     Salt and pepper to taste

Toast the bread lightly and set aside. Crumble the blue cheese in a small dish and mix with the cream to make a rough paste. Spread this mixture over the toasts. Set aside.

Put the lemon juice in a small bowl. One at a time, peel each pear. Halve it lengthwise; with a melon baller or paring knife remove the core and stem. Quickly turn each pear half in the lemon juice to keep the flesh from browning. On a cutting board cut each pear across into ¼-inch slices. Lift the sliced pear half with a spatula onto the cheese-covered toast, and angle the slices to spread them. Repeat with all the pear halves. Brush the pear tops with a little of the oil.

Shortly before serving, put the broiler rack at the highest level and preheat. Run the pear toasts under the flame until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes, the time depending on the pears’ ripeness. Watch closely.

While the pears are roasting, mix the rest of the walnut oil with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and check for balance. Divide the greens among four serving plates and scatter with the walnuts. When the pears are lightly browned, transfer each toast with a spatula onto the greens. Drizzle over a little walnut vinaigrette and serve at once.